Mark Rathbun: on mounting the offensive against Flynn and FAMCO (May 28, 2013)

In early May, 1982 I was busily mounting the offensive against Flynn and his FAMCO scheme to bankrupt and destroy Scientology. Up to that point in time, several people had served as buffers between me and David Miscavige. All that changed one morning when Miscavige called me over to his offices at Hubbard’s newly-formed personal services corporation, Author Services Incorporated (ASI). Miscavige was the chairman of its board. As such he was recognized as the most senior and powerful person in the Scientology hierarchy. It was understood by then that all communication to or from L. Ron Hubbard went through Miscavige’s hands. I hopped into the small Japanese car that came with the job of Special Unit Litigation Director and sped over to see Miscavige. I brought Geoff Shervell with me. Geoff was my opposite number for the intelligence/ investigation function of the church. He was a short, portly fellow from New Zealand. He was handsome and friendly in looks and manner. Geoff had worked at the Guardian’s Office Worldwide in England for years. The Special Project had investigated him thoroughly and concluded that he had not engaged in any illegal acts while in the Guardian’s Office. His amiable demeanor and his training and understanding of intelligence had resulted in Miscavige tapping him to run all intelligence for the church. Up to that day Shervell had been reporting directly to Miscavige.

[…]

Miscavige seemed somberly unnerved, an attitude he rarely showed to anyone. He wore a dirty blonde mustache and glasses then. He stood about five feet, five inches, solidly built. He looked at me with piercing, intense blue eyes. “Marty, Geoff’s a nice guy, but he doesn’t have the confront for this job.” With that succinct statement, Miscavige put the intelligence function, and Geoff, under my supervision. “Does the GO have any PIs you can trust?” “I haven’t worked with any, sir.” “Well, you need to find a PI that has a pair of balls and won’t be compromised.” “Ok, I’ll get right on it.” “Look, somebody tried to pass a forged check on LRH’s account at Bank of New England. Some Arab guy named Aquil Abdul Amiar shows up at Middle East Bank in New York City with an LRH check with a forged signature. The check is from LRH’s account at BNE. BNE calls us and we tell them LRH never signed any check made out to any Arab, and no check for two million dollars to anybody . They stopped payment. We keep LRH’s check registers. There are no checks missing. We write all of LRH’s checks and submit them to him for signature. He signs them. We mail them and every one of them is accounted for. Norman can show you all that.” I looked at Norman. Norman gave a serious nod back. Miscavige continued, “We asked BNE for more particulars. BNE won’t give any. We have Sherman Lenske (LRH’s corporate and finance attorney ) call MEB and BNE and nobody will cooperate with him. BNE says they want to hear from LRH directly. We have all the proper powers of attorney on his accounts, but they won’t recognize them. They tell us the FBI is investigating. And the FBI won’t tell Sherman anything either. This whole thing smells . These fucking bankers are supposed to be working for LRH, and it looks like they are doing the work of Flynn and the FBI. You need to get a PI onto this and get to the bottom of it.” “Yes, sir.” “Okay, Norman , show him the documents we have, like the POA (power of attorney) and all. Marty, you report direct to me on this . Tell the finance people this is top priority if they give you any flack on the PIs.” “Yes, sir.” “Nobody in the GO or Special Unit or anywhere else needs to know about this, get it?” “Yes, sir.”  1

Notes

  1. Rathbun, Mark (2013-05-28). Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior (p. 216-218). Amazon Books. Kindle Edition.

Lowell Sun: Charges of scheme to bilk church of $2M take new twist (August 22, 1986)

Charges of scheme to bilk church of $2M take new twist1
by Raymond Howell

BOSTON — An international con artist has been charged in a scheme to bilk the controversial Church of Scientology out of $2 million, adding a new layer of intrigue to a Byzantine case that already involves a reputed organized crime figure, a disbarred lawyer and a financial swindler-turned-FBI-Informant.

Ala Fadili Al Tamimi, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in connection with the scam against L. Ron Hubbard, the late and reclusive Scientology founder. He pleaded innocent and was detained without bail.

Last May, reputed organized crime figure George T. Kattar of Methuen and disbarred attorney Harvey Brower of Swampscott were indicted on charges of offering the church false information about the scam in exchange for a $100,000 fee. Both are free on bail.

Kattar and Brower were implicated by Larry Reservitz, a disbarred Brockton lawyer, high-rolling gambler and convicted financial swindler who participated in the second alleged fraud as an informant for the FBI. He is in the federal witness protection program.

Extradited from Germany

Tamimi, 34, was indicted in the $2 million scheme last November. But at the time, he was serving a prison sentence in Germany for a fraud in that country. He was extradited last Friday.

Also indicted in the case was Tamimi’s brother, Akil Abdul Amir Al Fadili Al Tamimi. But Akil Tamimi is believed to be in the UAE, which does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S., according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Crossen.

A federal grand jury continues to investigate the $2 million scam. “Our belief is there are other conspirators and there is therefore an ongoing grand jury investigation,” Crossen said yesterday.

Harry L. Manion III, a church attorney and spokesman, said: “Church officials wonder why at this point Ala Tamimi’s co-conspirators have not also been indicted.

“The church will press on to expose this conspiracy wherever the web of the conspiracy may lead and to expose whoever may be caught up in it,” he said.

Ala Tamimi also faces trial on fraud charges stemming from his dealings as president of a company called First Boston Arabian Corporation in 1981.

Promised lavish loans

The company purported to find Arab shieks willing to make lavish loans at low interest rates to real estate developers and other businessmen in the U.S.

Tamimi required borrowers to pay him advance finder’s fees, but he had neither loan commitments nor funds, the government charges.

His clients included a German national named Wolfgang Jurgens, for whom Tamlmi purportedly arranged a $75 million loan.

Tamimi’s fee was $2.5 million and he allegedly demanded $870,000 in advance of the closing. Jurgens paid it in the form of 1.7 million German Deutschmarks, two Mercedes-Benzes, two BMWs, $12,000 in U.S. currency and an $8,000 Rolex watch.

Tamimi was indicted in the First Boston Arabian case in March 1983. But in June of that year, he jumped bail.

Shortly afterward, he was arrested for fraud in Sicily, according to an FBI affidavit and Tamimi’s attorney, John C. McBride of Boston.

Tamimi spent two and a half years in an Italian jail. Upon his release, he was transferred to Germany, where he was wanted for fraud and where he ended up serving nine months in jail, according to McBride.

In March 1984, while he was incarcerated abroad, Tamimi was secretly indicted for perjury in connection with statements he made in court before he jumped bail in the first Boston Arabian case.

Court documents indicate that during bail hearings in that case, Tamimi claimed to have two passports — one from Jordan and another from the U.S. Both were eventually turned over to authorities.

But it was later learned that he possessed two other U.S. passports and used one of them in Italy, according to an FBI affidavit.

Tamimi cannot be tried on the perjury indictment, however, because the extradition agreement with Germany does not include that charge, said Crossen.

The German government was “disinclined to extradite hint based on the perjury indictment,” the prosecutor said.

It was also during his incarceration abroad that Tamimi was secretly indicted in the Scientology scheme.

The two-count indictment, returned Nov. 22, 1985, accuses Tamimi and his brother of conspiracy and interstate transportation of conterfeit checks.

It alleges that in May 1982, they obtained a $2 million forged check drawn on an account of Hubbard and a $500,000 counterfeit check drawn on an account of a company called Indian River Foods Inc. Both accounts were at the Bank of New England in Boston.

The indictment further alleges that in June 1982, they transported the checks from Massachusetts to New York and attempted to deposit them in the Middle East Bank Ltd., where Akil Tamimi had opened an account under the alias of Aquii Abdulamiar.

Suspecting that something was wrong, bank officials raised questions about the check and did not cash it.

Attorney McBride said yesterday: “We’re going the whole route. The government can’t prove its case.”

Referring to the fact that the check was never cashed, he said: “The church was never defrauded out of any money. Mr. Hubbard never lost any money.”

Although Tamimi had not been formally charged in the Hubbard check case until Tuesday, he has been linked to it as far back as 1984.

At that time, a private investigator hired by the church, Eugene Ingram, visited Tamimi in jail in Italy and brought back an affidavit in which Tamimi implicated himself and Boxford attorney Michael Flynn. The affidavit was turned over to the FBI and has been cited in civil litigation involving the church.

Flynn, who has been battling the church for years in numerous civil suits, has vigorously denied any involvement in the scam, denied knowing Tamimi and accused Scientology officials or trying to smear him.

Flynn was out of town and unavailable for comment yesterday, but an associate, Mike Tabb, said Tamimi has since sent telegrams to Flynn stating that the portion of the affidavit about Flynn is untrue.

Tabb also claimed that Ingram has been investigated by a grand jury for possibly having “procurred perjury” from Tamimi.

“From our investigation, it appears that Mr. Tamimi was involved in the Hubbard check, but Mike Flynn had no involvement in that,” Tabb added. “…The government has never indicated that Michael Flynn is a target of a grand jury investigation or that he is seriously considered a suspect.”

McBride, when asked about his client’s affidavit, said Tamimi has since disavowed it. He also claimed that the Justice Department has “publicly” rejected the “credibility” of the affidavit.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Crossen said the government has not made any public declarations about the credibility of the affidavit. But he refused to comment further on it.

The names of Flynn and Tamimi have begun to surface in court documents filed in the case of Kattar and Brower, who allegedly schemed to bilk the church in 1984.

In two handwriting exemplars filed by Kattar’s attorney, Michael Avery, during discovery proceedings, Kattar mentions Flynn and Tamimi as having been involved in the original check scheme.

The handwriting exemplars were requested by a grand jury in January 1988, along with photographs and fingerprints of Kattar, Avery said in an affidavit. Presumably, they were requested so they could be compared to identically worded notes already in the grand jury’s possession.

Noting that Kattar and Brower have been accused of fabricating a story about the $2 million scam, Tabb claimed the notes represented “the false story that Kattar told.”

Tabb also pointed to an FBI affidavit which quotes certain conversations involving Kattar and Brower. In the narrative, the affidavit says: “In essence, they decided to falsely accuse several persons of complicity in the check offense, including a Boston lawyer (Michael Flynn).”

Neither Assistant U.S. Attorney Crossen nor Avery, Kattar’s attorney, would comment on the handwriting exemplars.

Notes

Clearwater Sun: Lawyer sees smear campaign, slams sect (January 29, 1984)

Notes1

  1. This document in PDF format.

The Patriot Ledger: L.A. sleuth reports ‘hot leads’ from ads on bogus $2M check (January 28, 1984)

By Jim Kelly
Patriot Ledger Staff

QUINCY – A mysterious foreigner with a false identity. Forged million-dollar checks. A controversial church leader who hasn’t been seen for eight years. A California private detective who’s offering $100,000 for information.

It sounds like a plot from your average TV show or cheap paperback thriller. But it’s all real and part of a bizarre story that’s grabbed the attention of millions of people from Washington to the South Shore this week.

On Monday, The Boston Globe published a full-page advertisement from a Los Angeles detective seeking information about a forged $2 million check from the Bank of New England. The ad offered a $100,000  reward for information about a person who tried to pass the phony check at a New York City bank in June 1982.

Subsequent ads were published this week in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Times. The ads cost more than $50,000, but the detective said yesterday he’s received hundreds of calls from people across the country, many with valuable information.

“The ads have more than paid for themselves,” detective Eugene M. Ingram said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “We’ve got some very hot leads.”

Ingram, working on the case since last May, said his client is a Los Angeles law firm that represents L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. Ingram said Hubbard, who hasn’t been seen in public since 1976, is willing to put up the money for the investigation, the ads and the reward because the forged check was a copy of a check he wrote.

Because of this there was a lot of media attention on him (Hubbard),” Ingram said. “A crime has been committed against him and he wants to find out who’s behind it.”

According to Ingram, here’s how the case developed:

On March 9, 1982, Hubbard wrote a $1 million check on his personal account from the E.F. Hutton Cash Reserve Management Section of the Bank of New England in Boston. The check, made out to a Los Angeles investment firm, was deposited, cleared through the Boston bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, then returned to Hubbard several weeks later.

On June 7, 1982, a man identifying himself as Mr. K. Abdulamiar attempted to open an account at the Mideast Bank in New York City. The man, who had no personal identification, presented two forged checks. One was a copy of the Hubbard check from the Bank of New England, though this check was made out to Abdulamiar for $2 million. The man also presented a check for $500,000 from a Florida food company which was also drawn the E.F. Hutton account at the Boston bank. Ingram said there is no connection between Hubbard and the Florida firm.

Mideast Bank officials refused to honor the checks since the man did not have any identification, though they called the Boston bank and confirmed that there was enough money in both accounts to cover the checks.

The man identifying himself as Abdulamiar, who claimed to be well-connected in Middle Eastern financial circles, threatened to have the bank officials fired. But he refused to take the phony checks with him when he left the New York bank. The checks were turned over to federal investigators.

Ingram said he believes the original Hubbard check was somehow stolen from a processing area at the Bank of New England, copied, then returned to the bank. He said he has several suspects, none of them present or former Bank of New England employees.

But Denise Lane, a bank spokesman, said yesterday that an internal investigation into the matter “found no evidence of mishandling.”

“Frankly, there are some statements in the ad that are not quite true,” Lane said. “He says the check was somehow taken from the bank. That has not been determined. There are many possible things that could have happened.”

Ingram said his client decided to take out the ads after officials at the Bank of New England refused to have them information or allow their employees to be interviewed by the detective.

“The bank’s position is that because there’s been no money lost, they’re not concerned,” Ingram said. Ingram said he has received cooperation from the FBI, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and E.F. Hutton, who are conducting their own investigations. But he said those investigations also have been somewhat half-hearted since no money was actually stolen.

Lane said the bank refused to cooperate with Ingram because “we have a legal obligation to protect the confidentiality of our records and accounts.”

Ingram said he has received many calls from police officers and attorneys offering information and assistance in tracking down the forger.

“And very few have called collect,” Ingram said. “They take it seriously enough to invest their own dime. It restores my faith in the American public, where people do get involved, though I’m sure the $100,000 has something to do with it.”

Ingram said he would like to question bank employees to identify a photo of a mysterious man seen four times in the bank’s processing section at the time the Hubbard check came through the bank. Although the processing area is supposed to be secure, Ingram said the man was not a bank employee.

Meanwhile, Ingram said he and a team of East Coast investigators are interviewing people who have called with information.

Asked if he thought the mysterious Mr. Abdulamiar would be found, Ingram replied: “Absolutely. No question.”

Notes

The Boston Globe: Scientology Ad “$100,000 Reward” (January 23, 1984)

boston-globe-1984-01-22

A REWARD OF $100,000.00 IS HEREBY OFFERED FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE ARREST AND CONVICTION OF THE PERSON OR PERSONS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FORGERY AND ATTEMPTED PASSING OF A TWO MILLION DOLLAR CHECK, DRAWN ON AN E.F. HUTTON CASH RESERVE MANAGEMENT ACCOUNT AT THE BANK OF NEW ENGLAND, 28 STATE STREET, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. THIS REWARD IS NECESSARY BECAUSE EFFORTS TO INVESTIGATE THIS FORGERY HAVE BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL.

SUMMARY OF INFORMATION TO DATE:

On June 7, 1982, a young man of  Middle Eastern extraction using the name of Mr. Abdulamiar, with no identification papers, attempted to open an account at the Mideast Bank, New York City, with a forged check for two million dollars.

This forged check was drawn on an account at the Bank of New England.

The investigation to date has determined that this was a counterfeit check copied from a legitimate check which on March 11, 1982, was passed through and somehow gotten from the E.F. Hutton Cash Reserve Management Section in the Bank of New England.

Efforts to obtain relevant information  concerning this forged check from the Bank of New England in Boston have been unsuccessful, and it has become necessary to make this public request for information as a result.

In an attempt to determine the true circumstances of this situation, and to assist the ongoing official investigation into this matter and bring about the successful prosecution and conviction of those involved, any and all information will be carefully considered and provided to the authorities for their use. All responses will be held in utmost confidentiality with no liability to the reporting party.

Direct all information to

Eugene M. Ingram, Private Investigator
Ingram Investigations
California License #AA 9387
1212 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90029
Phone (213) 666-5775
(Collect calls accepted only between noon and 2:00 P.M. PST)

Notes